Pelvic floor dysfunction exercises: The do’s & the don’ts

Pigeon Yoga pose

Don’t you just hate it when you’ve tried everything to get better and nothing has worked? I hear this all the time from women I work with.

They’re experiencing pelvic dysfunction and tried every exercise, device, and technique out there. Yet, they’re not much better off from where they started.

However, I often learn that they’ve missed many healing methods proven to work for pelvic issues.

Why is this?

Well, sadly many effective methods haven’t reached mainstream yet. So, not many women know about them.

This is horrible, right?

It wasn’t too long ago when I was in the same boat. I only knew what the doctors told me, which wasn’t much.

It took months of searching online and meeting practitioners around the world before learning what was actually needed to heal.

Herein lies the reason for this blog. I want to teach you what the healthcare system has failed to share.

You’ll learn about several pelvic floor dysfunction exercises to assist in the healing process and help you feel much better.

What is pelvic floor dysfunction?

A woman trying to find information online about pelvic dysfunction

When there is too much pressure, tension, and tightness in the pelvic floor, it creates a “pulling action” downward. This can lead to pelvic organ prolapse and a host of other symptoms.

In addition, scarring and adhesions in your pelvic fascia can create pelvic issues, like incontinence, pelvic pain, low libido, heaviness, etc.

In this blog, “Why is no one else talking about pelvic dysfunction”, I cover this subject in depth. Take a look to learn more.

Pelvic floor dysfunction exercises to avoid

Exercises that increase the pressure in your pelvic floor or add more tension, like Kegels, are best avoided.

Also, high-impact exercises like running, or intense cardio can worsen symptoms. Even pilates and certain yoga postures have aggravated symptoms.

So, the most important thing is to listen to your body. If you’re able to exercise the way you once were, that’s great.

But, if you don’t feel good after a certain exercise, modifications may be necessary. Or in some cases, it may be necessary to take a break from an exercise until symptoms improve.

Best at home exercises for pelvic floor dysfunction

Although there are unsafe exercises to avoid when healing pelvic dysfunction – there are safe exercises you can do at home.

All of the safe pelvic floor exercises I’m about to share require a level of guidance from a trained practitioner.

However, with the correct guidance, you can achieve amazing results. And the best part is – you can do them from home at a time that suits you best.

Before we jump into the list of safe exercises for pelvic dysfunction, I want to say one thing. One of the exercises on this list – Hypopressives – requires personal guidance, with 1-to-1 feedback.

Yet, this can be done virtually. So you don’t have to drive anywhere and can save on the expense of working with someone live, in person. I’ll explain more about this when I discuss Hypopressives in a bit.

1. Fascia Release Exercises

Deanna Hansen practicing block therapy on the perineam

As discussed earlier, scarring and adhesions in the pelvic floor fascia creates restriction and stiffness of the fascia. This means it’s lost some flexibility and elasticity.

To “unlock” the restricted fascia, sorta speak, you need to do some fascia release exercises. One way to do this is with a method called Block Therapy.

This technique was created 20 years ago by Deanna Hansen, a Certified Athletic Therapist. To practice this method and release restricted fascia, you need a block (as the name indicates).

It can be a yoga block, preferably made of bamboo. Alternatively, you can use a hard, thick textbook or a tightly rolled-up bath or beach towel.

Once you have your “tool” of choice, you use it to apply pressure to various parts of your body. You always start on your stomach first. Then, you can move to areas such as your calves, feet, public bone, even your breasts.

When following the instructions of Deanna or a practitioner that she’s trained, you can use the block almost anywhere on your body.

The benefits of having a regular block therapy practice include:

  • Pain relief (in your entire body, not just your pelvis)
  • Reduction in urinary leakage (incontinence)
  • Anxiety relief
  • Weight loss
  • Greater mobility & flexibility
  • Improved posture
  • Elimination of cysts and fibroids
  • Better breast health
  • Reduction in PMS symptoms
  • And so much more

To learn more about this technique and get a sample, watch this video.

2. Pelvic Floor Relaxation Exercises

When your pelvic floor has too much tension or tightness, it’s essential to relax it. This can be done with different anti-gravity positions, such as legs on the wall.

Also, keeping your hips up by placing a pillow under your hips as you lay on the couch or bed is super helpful. It will release pressure in your pelvic floor and help the muscles to relax.

There are specific exercises that help relax the pelvic floor, which you can learn from Dr. Brianna Grogan. She is an incredible teacher and expert in the field of pelvic health.

As a doctor of Physical Therapy, she was able to heal prolapse on her own, using the exercises she teaches and other healing methods. Find out more about Dr. Bri here.

3. The Feldenkrais Method

Lavina Plonka teaches the Feldenkrais method

This method is amazing for many reasons, which I’ll get into. But, the main benefit of the exercises in the Feldenkrais method is their accessibility.

Here’s what I mean by that.

If you have limited mobility, intense pain, or can’t drive to see a practitioner in person – you can do these exercises. They are safe and gentle, making them suitable for anyone.

Also, the straightforward nature of the exercises makes them possible to do at home by following along with pre-recorded videos.

Ok with that said, let me give you a quick description of what these exercises are.

First off, the Feldenkrais method includes somatic-based exercises that focus on mindful movements, proper posture, and conscious breathing. The primary principles are:

  • Listen & go within – this is where the innate intelligence of the body resides
  • Less is more – only do what you can, and don’t push yourself past the point of comfort
  • Rest often – timing time to rest, relax, and sleep more is a major piece of the healing puzzle

4. Belly Dancing

Jennifer Sobel teaching belly dance combinations

Many belly dance movements involve moving your hips and pelvis, which improves circulation and fluidity in your pelvic floor.

These improvements activate the pelvic fascia and bring it back to life. Having a belly dance practice, the pelvic fascia feels healthy, nourished, and strong, which allows healing to take place.

Plus, belly dancing is one of the most fun pelvic floor dysfunction exercises and has a fascinating history. Learn more about belly dancing and its history here.

5. Pelvic Floor Dysfunction Yoga Exercises

If you’ve practiced yoga before, then you know how powerful this exercise is – both for your body and mind.

Yet, yoga was actually created by men, for men thousands of years ago. So, there are some postures (asanas) that are more suitable for a male body and vice versa.

This is why yoga classes that target a woman’s body and her pelvic floor make a huge difference when healing pelvic dysfunction.

But how can yoga specifically address and heal pelvic floor issues?

Practicing specific yoga postures designed to heal pelvic floor symptoms has many benefits. These benefits include:

  • Increased circulation & fluidity in your pelvis
  • Improved posture
  • A greater awareness & understanding of your pelvic floor
  • Reducing pressure in the pelvic floor
  • And positively counteracting the effects of gravity

6. Emotional Processing Exercises

Tapping on stress with Allie

So far, I’ve talked about several body-based exercises you can do to heal.

But what about the emotional side of experiencing pelvic dysfunction? How do difficult emotions affect your ability to heal?

For me, I had to learn how to process and let go of anger, along with depression, and the apathy I felt toward life. Without doing this work, I don’t believe I could have completely healed a Grade 3 prolapse.

Furthermore, many women I work with who have pelvic conditions feel stuck, overwhelmed, self-conscious, anxious, and angry.

Without processing and releasing these emotions and feelings, they will stay stuck in the body.

More specifically, unprocessed emotions get trapped in the fascia, muscles, and organs, along with the subconscious mind and nervous system.

For complete healing to occur, we can’t only address the physical symptoms. We need to also address the mental and emotional toll that the physical symptoms have caused us.

One way to do this is with EFT Tapping, Affirmations, and Visualizations.

With these principles, you’re able to release tension in your pelvic floor and the parts of your body connected to your pelvic floor health, which include your jaw, feet, and spine.

7. Hypopressive Exercises

Lastly, I want to talk about Hypopressives. They are one of the best exercises to heal pelvic floor dysfunction. Hypopressive exercises are a low-pressure fitness technique focused on proper alignment and proper breathing.

Hypopressives are exceptional at reducing and eliminating symptoms of pelvic dysfunction like prolapse, incontinence, and pelvic pain. Why?

Because hypopressives reduce internal pressure to the body’s thoracic, abdominal, and pelvic areas. 

The exercises themselves help reprogram the core muscles, which are vital to managing pressure consciously and subconsciously, increasing their resting tone and involuntary function.

In other words, the core, including the pelvic floor, starts to work again as it was designed to – without having to think about it.

You can find many pelvic floor dysfunction exercises on YouTube, like Hypopressives, but it’s not advised to practice these.

As mentioned earlier in this blog, it’s necessary to practice Hypopressives with a qualified trainer. Again, that doesn’t mean live or in person.

But it does mean they need to see you practicing the technique, such as a recorded video. This allows the trainer to see how you are practicing the exercises, so they can give you feedback.

In Summary

Now that we’ve covered which pelvic floor dysfunction exercises to do and which to avoid – let’s summarize things, shall we?

It’s important to avoid exercises that add pressure to your pelvic floor. Or exercises that create more tension and tightness, like Kegels for example.

You want to practice exercises that reduce internal pressure, such as Hypopressives. Also, exercises that improve circulation and activate the fascia in your pelvic floor are essential.

Also, you can learn more about the exercises I discussed, and others, in this pelvic floor dysfunction exercises PDF.

Lastly, if you have any questions about the methods you read about in the PDF, please schedule a free consultation call with us! We’ll share more details about the exercises, and answer any questions you have.

You can also learn about my Pelvic Floor Dysfunction Program which teaches you how to practice these exercises.

Thanks for being here, and please know that healing is possible!

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